Joseph Addison



    Long has a race of heroes fill'd the stage,
    That rant by note, and through the gamut rage:
    In songs and airs express their martial fire,
    Combat in trills, and in a fugue expire;
    While lull'd by sound, and undisturb'd by wit,
    Calm and serene you indolently sit:
    And from the dull fatigue of thinking free,
    Hear the facetious fiddles' repartee:
    Our homespun authors must forsake the field,
    And Shakespeare to the soft Scarlatti yield.
        To your new taste the poet of this day,
    Was by a friend advis'd to form his play;
    Had Velentini, musically coy,
    Shun'd Phædra's arms, and scorn'd the proffer'd joy,
    It had not mov'd your wonder to have seen
    An eunuch fly from an enamour'd queen:
    How would it please, should she in English speak,
    And could Hippolytus reply in Greek?
    But he, a stranger to your modish way,
    By your old rules must stand or fall to-day.
    And hopes you will your foreign taste command,
    To bear, for once, with what you understand.

    † A tragedy written by Mr. Edmund Smith.

          Excerpted from:

          The Works of Joseph Addison. Vol III.
          New York: Harper Brothers, 1864. 433.

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